Job descriptions and industry overviews

Pharmacovigilance officer: job description

4 Jul 2023, 14:46

Pharmacovigilance officers (also known as drug safety officers and pharmacovigilance scientists) ensure that drugs on the market are safe for patients.

Pharmacovigilance officer at work

What does a pharmacovigilance officer do? Graduate salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

A pharmacovigilance officer is responsible for gathering and assessing information about adverse effects of pharmaceutical products on the market.

Typical duties include:

  • recording and reporting adverse reactions received from healthcare professionals, drug company representatives and patients
  • conducting in-depth interviews with patients and healthcare professionals
  • completing safety update reports on drugs and other treatments
  • writing and reviewing serious adverse effects reports and forms
  • flagging up early warning signs of adverse effects of drugs
  • setting up and reviewing processes and training
  • completing safety audits
  • working on clinical trials of new drugs
  • data entry, or supervision of this work
  • contributing to research.

Graduate salaries

Salaries for pharmacovigilance officers tend to start at around £22,000, according to jobs comparison site Glassdoor. It’s common to start as a pharmacovigilance or drug safety associate or assistant, roles in which you can build the skills you need to progress further up the career ladder. Later, you could earn up to £75,000 in a pharmacovigilance scientist role.

Typical employers of pharmacovigilance officers

  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Medical device companies
  • Biotechnology companies.

As you progress, you could take on contract work across different industries to broaden or build your skills set.

Vacancies are advertised by careers services and university departments. You’ll also find them advertised by specialist recruitment agencies and on science-focused jobs boards.

Qualifications and training required

To become a pharmacovigilance officer, you will need a degree. Most employers will ask for a relevant life or health science or pharmacy degree. A few postgraduate qualifications in drug safety are available.

Work experience is essential if you’re keen to get into this career as a graduate. Any lab experience will help, as will experience in the pharmaceutical industry and/or scientific research.

It’s also possible to get into this career as a qualified health professional, such as a nurse or pharmacist with relevant medical or nursing qualifications. The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry provides information on its website about careers in this industry for medical professionals.

Key skills for pharmacovigilance officers

Successful applicants are likely to have:

  • the ability to keep meticulous records
  • attention to detail
  • excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • the ability to interact and communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • a systematic approach to tasks
  • project management skills
  • good interpretative skills
  • teamworking skills
  • good maths skills.

Next: search graduate jobs and internships

View our graduate jobs and internships and don't forget to register with targetjobs to get the latest job opportunities, internships, career advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you.

targetjobs editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the targetjobs content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

Related careers advice

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.